Yes, believe it or not, Salted Pretzel Macarons! And they taste just like chocolate dipped pretzels due to ground pretzels in the batter, and a white, dark or milk chocolate filling, although you can use any kind of filling you like, like nutella, a favorite buttercream, jam, and even something savory to contrast the sweet.. etcetera.
So I had an idea, and it’s been festering in my brain for months now. I wasn’t sure it would work, but I had to try it. Things just kept getting in the way, and soon this idea was in limbo, wanting to move on, but unable to move out. Well, I finally got to it, and I’m finally taking part in a MacTweet challenge, regardless of that bendy joint in between my thigh and calf that tries to trip me up. If I had a nickel for every time the word ‘knee’ has been used on this blog, I’d have about …one dollar?
This month’s MacTweets theme is ‘Ballpark Snacks – Take me out to the Ballgame’, aka, food you usually find at a ballgame, as or in a macaron. It sort of went like this…
“Hey, Jamie (MacTweet co-founder, along with Deeba), I came up with this amazing salted pretzel macaron, and the shell really tastes like a pretzel, well, a sweet pretzel, like chocolate dipped pretzels..but I did add powdered mustard to a white chocolate ganache..and it’s actually good and…blah blah..zzzzz”
I lucked out; Jamie made this month’s theme a baseball one. Big, soft, hot, chewy pretzels, with gobs of mustard, at a Yankee game. Yeah, that’s the life, well, when I’m there, and I haven’t been to a game in a while, but I’m pretty sure, if I recall, you can get chocolate dipped, crunchy pretzels at the new Yankee Stadium, too. SO, I began to whip up my second go round of this macaron I created about 2 months or so ago.
On your left, the salted pretzel powder. This one needed to be sifted just once or twice more, as you can see there’s still tiny shell bits in it. On the right, the color your finished/baked macarons should be, similar to graham cracker crumbs, to emulate a golden, baked pretzel. I placed two small pretzel sticks on top to show you. However, and very important, you want your tant pour tant about two shades lighter than above since the color deepens when folded with the egg whites. The wrinkled macarons down below were made from this over-colored tant pour tant. See how much darker they are than the original tant pour tant above, which looks to be the perfect baked pretzel color match?
The above are filled with Nutella. The rest of the photos, just plain, dark chocolate ganache. AS promised, I supplied a recipe for the white chocolate – mustard ganache, below, even though I couldn’t show it to you in a macaron.
Well, guess what? Two new disasters! I think it’s getting to the point where a disaster is to be expected with every new post here. Sorry.
1. Batch #1 – The tops deflated and wrinkled. No idea why. They looked like old ladies after years and years of sun worshiping; pretzel bronze 1.5-inch raisin rounds. If anyone has a clue, please fill me in. I’ve dealt with no feet, flat shells, too poofy shells, and big feet, but never wrinkly faces. They’re being bitches again.
2. Batter #2 spilled onto my lap. I don’t want to say how.
This is the ‘too dark and wrinkled’ batch. In all of my years (well. three) of wrestling with these divas, I’ve never seen this before.
So, I had a choice, try again or use the photos from my first try creating the salted pretzel macaron. They sat in my photo program as a sort of a back-up in case of sudden macaron bitchiness resurafced. I hated this attempt because the color was off, the feet were weird, and I piped them so quickly, I ended up with too many baby shells. I also accidentally sprinkled pretzel salt on all the drying shells, instead of every other one, so I had to use two salted shells per macaron. Oh, and and the photos; one word – BAD. BUT, they had to do since I wasn’t sure I had the time or patience to make them again within the next two weeks. So here they are, and they taste SO good, so eff the aesthetics for now.
Are you happy, Ms. Meanie Macaron Goddess?
I took one shot of them from different distances. I have no idea why I used a light blue mug and red ribbon, especially since light blue is the death of food photos. Oh, and that white lace background? Out to pasture for good.
Had I not encountered any problems the second and third time around, I had some great background ideas, like broken pretzels, chocolate and mustard as props, and maybe a beer or two for those of you who like beer with your pretzels. And, I was going to fill them with this perfect white chocolate-mustard ganache I came up with (sounds gross but it isn’t, I promise), but I never got around to it, so I think these will be making another appearance on this blog, the way I originally planned them. (Yeah, right..like I was going to perfect my Twoffle for another entry, and the third Levain Copycat attempt I keep promising everyone. I’m a horrible blogger.)
Even though you didn’t get to see my perfectly ‘pretzel colored’ macs, you can see the color in the tant pour tant photo above. Notice the pretzel stick I placed to show you how close the color was? Well, as mentioned above, under the photo of it, you have to go about two shades lighter than that because when folded with the egg whites, the color deepens considerably. I’ve now said it twice because it sucked for me when that tant pour tant turned a deep, reddish brown after being combined with the whites, far from the golden, baked pretzel looking shells I so coveted, and I don’t want that to happen to you!
That said, I assume the wrinkled ones wrinkled in protest of the ugly color they were made to wear. Oh, and that perfectly baked pretzel colored tant pour tant? That ended up being the batter that ended up on my lap. Go figure.
So, here is the perfect pretzel color for these macarons – not what you see in the photos. Americolor gels – equal parts warm brown and egg yolk, plus 1 part gold.
I usually color the tant pour tant and let it dry overnight. You don’t have to do that; you can color the egg whites while beating, like most do, or drop in the color(s) during your ’50 folding strokes’.
Just do NOT forget to let the pipped macaron shells dry on the baking sheet for at least 20 minutes before placing them in the oven. If you don’t, you will end up with ugly cracked or dimpled macarons shells, with lopsided feet or no feet at all (GASP!)!!
Some of those ‘baby’ macarons from inconsistent pressure on the piping bag.
All in all, if you love sweet, dipped salted pretzels, these shells hit that flavor perfectly. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, fill them with whatever you like, from sweet to savory. You won’t be disappointed!
Now onto the good part, minus the whining and bitching. Myy three year blogiversary is upon me. (ME ME ME..again). It’s actually May 26th, but I probably won’t have a post up on the 26th, so I want to celebrate it now….with 3 Giveaways! I love you guys, and love that you like my blog. I even love those of you who are just coming for the giveaway, because, well..Oh, I don’t know, just feeling the love today. These prizes will definitely help in your macaron making, or cookie and cake decorating…or whatever floats your boat (I won’t go there). This is not a promotion, I bought all of the prizes myself to give away to YOU. I’m giving away 1 big prize (well..bigger in relation to the two others). An Ateco 55 Piece Pastry Tip Set ((Set includes coupler, flower nails and Ateco’s most popular stainless steel decorating tubes in a plastic hinged storage box) plus 12 Ateco gel paste colors (black, blue, yellow, green, pink, red, teal, orange, fuchsia, violet, sky blue, and brown – remember, a little bitty drop goes a long way!)
For two runners up. I’m giving away two Ateco 14-Piece Cake Decorating Sets (12 inch flexible bag with hem and hanging loop and 12 stainless steel decorating tubes. Also includes a plastic coupler (pre-attached to bag), instructions, recipes, and a clear plastic storage box)
How to Enter: You have three chances to win any three of the prizes. Three separate comments for each entry. You can just leave one comment if you want, but why not increase your chances? 🙂 1. Leave a comment telling me what you like to eat at sporting events, and/or just a comment on this macaron entry if you don’t go to sporting events. 2. Follow me on Twitter @parsleynsage, or you can click on the little blue tweety bird at the top right of this page to go right to my profile and follow. 3 Tweet about this giveaway – 3 #GIVEAWAYS, 3 #WINNERS @parsleynsage – 55 Piece Pastry Tip Set plus 12 gel colors, & 2 Cake Decorating Sets http://bit.ly/lZ3XAZ All three winners will be chosen via random integer on Jun 2nd, so that’s 12 days you have to enter! Good luck, everyone!
Macaron shell directions adpated from Tartelette.
- 1 cup(110 grams) icing sugar
- ¾ cup (84 grams) almond meal
- 2 tablespoons (10 grams) pretzel powder (method follows)
- 2 large(70 grams) egg whites
- 3 tablespoons (37 grams) granulated sugar
- Pretzel salt or coarse salt
- Warm Brown, Egg Yolk Yellow and Gold Americolor gel pastes
- About 2 handfuls of lightly salted pretzel bites, or thin sticks, or twists or about 2 long pretzel rods; size and shape doesn't matter.
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon mustard powder (taste after 2 teaspoons)
- ¾ cup chopped white chooclate
- Yellow gel paste..optional
- In a food processor, grind the pretzels as fine as you can. Now this is the important part, you need to sift the powder because small bits of the golden shell do not break down to a fine powder. Continue to do this until all brown shell bits are removed.
- Place the powdered sugar, pretzel powder, and almond meal in a food processor and give it a good whirl until ground and uniform. Add in the gel food colors and pulse until you reach a golden pretzel color you're satisfied with, BUT LIGHTER. It will darken as it sits. I used about 3-4 drops each of brown and yellow, plus 1 drop of gold, for 2 egg white macarons.
- Let the tant pour tant dry overnight, or spread on a cookie sheet and let dry in a turned off oven for a few hours.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not over beat your meringue or it will be too dry.
- Add the tant pour tant (almond meal, sugar, pretzel powder amalgamation) to the beaten egg whites and sugar. Give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Lightly sprinkle every other piped round with pretzel or coarse salt. You want half the shells to be plain and half topped with coarse salt. Don't mess up like I did and top them all with salt!
- Preheat the oven to 300 F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit (this is how you get good feet).
- Bake the macarons for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily due to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there too long or they will become soggy. Once baked, and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.
- Boil the cream and the mustard powder in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate in a bowl. Let it sit for a minute and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 or two drops yellow gel paste color and stir until uniform and a yellow mustard color. Add more if needed. Let ganache sit in the refrigerator overnight and whip the next day until a thick cream is formed. You don't have to whip it, you can just stir and pipe it on as is, a more truffle like consistency.
- For each macaron you need one salted shell, and one plain shell. Place one plain shell inside up and pipe with filling of your choice, Top with a salted shell. Repeat until you have used up all the shells. And that's it! Enjpy!